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Bimonthly Digest: July 25 to August 7

Much has happened in the last two weeks, including new regulations on cryptoassets, new cryptocurrency initiatives by major companies, and some big moves internationally. We’ll cover the highlights here with links for more information, to keep you in the know. Be sure to check back here in two weeks for another roundup!

OCC’s regulation on cryptocurrency

  • This notice is a game changer, for three main reasons. First, it gives a long-awaited regulatory stamp of approval on cryptocurrencies. Secondly, it allows regular banks to break into cryptocurrency, possibly bringing in a new wave of investors. Lastly, it explicitly allows for big banks to service cryptocurrency exchanges, where previously only JP Morgan had serviced any at all.

Mastercard crypto initiative

  • Mastercard has unveiled its Accelerate program for crypto partners and other fintechs. This gives Mastercard an edge on other banks and financial services looking to invest or expand with decentralized and crypto initiatives. 
  • The Accelerate program connects up and coming technologies with the right partners at Mastercard. There are many program tracks to choose from, including speed, growth, flexibility, and insights.

International updates

  • The UK has struggled with digital identity policies and technology sector representatives have become impatient with the slow progress. This comes after a slow traction release of Gov.UK Verify and also after the program director’s resignation in March. Follow their progress here.
  • Australia has faced similar challenges with their myGov initiative that has been delayed several times. Their interest is low and the platform has many privacy concerns that concern government representatives.
  • Singapore’s DBS Bank has announced that it is the first private sector entity to allow biometric facial authentication for its services using the government’s national biometric database and the SingPass Face Verification service. Previously, the database and SingPass have only been used for official purposes such as ID verification at border checkpoints.

Senate meeting on tech

  • Here are the highlights of the Senate’s recent discussion on digital money and cryptocurrencies in general.
  • Amidst concerns about big technology not being suitable to handle financial systems, Senator Brown proposed his “Banking for All” Act.
  • A lesson from international markets: Going into effect on January 1, 2021, a new inheritance law not only identifies Bitcoin as one asset that could be inherited but it also allows China’s citizens to pass on their cryptocurrency and other digital assets to their heirs.
  • The Italian Banking Association revealed that it would be willing to support and pilot the implementation of a digital currency from the European Central Bank. They recently released guidelines on their position with digital currencies.

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